How to create a screen using emulsion

Where does exposure fit in the screen printing process?

What emulsion should I use?

How long can I keep emulsion?

How do you get rid of pin holes?

How long should I dry my screen?

 

Let’s go back to basics. Screen printing is also a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance, and ink is forced into the mesh openings of the mesh by the fill blade or squeegee and onto the printing surface during the squeegee stroke.

Emulsion is the means of making impermeable substance. Light sensitive, thick liquid which coats the screen. When the screen is exposed the emulsion hardens and unexposed areas drop out to leave the stencil.

So you have your positive artwork

Making Your Artwork Positive.

Making Your Artwork Positive.

Now this process is one of the most tricky in screen printing and needs to be done thoroughly and carefully. Never skip on any step especially drying.

The first step is to degrease your screen

It is very important to degrease the screen prior to coating the screen with emulsion and exposing the artwork. A screen that is not degreased will have problems exposing and increase the chance of pinholes, the emulsion will not adhere to the screen properly and might washout before the image can be seen. The emulsion could also not wash out at all. Make sure you let it dry thoroughly before you coat it with emulsion.

Choosing your emulsion

There are many emulsions on the market and every printer will have their preferred type and brand. Some emulsions come pre sensitised and ready for use and some will need mixing. Our emulsion is a 2 part emulsion, its comes with sensitizer.

Shelf life is different depending on when the sensitizer is added . Separately both parts can last from 12-24 months. Once mixed the emulsion lasts 6-8 weeks (its life can be prolonged slightly if it is stored in a cold place, like the fridge).
Always make sure you have chosen the right emulsion if you are using Plastisol inks / Solvent inks you need a Solvent resistant emulsion like Ulano Proclaim or if you are using Waterbased inks you need a water resistant emulsion like Ulano 925wr. We also sell Autosol emulsion, which is a good dual purpose emulsion, it can be used with both waterbased and solvent inks.

Location

Make sure you are doing all parts of the emulsion and exposure process in a light safe environment with NO outside or bright light. This includes mixing your emulsion, coating your screens, drying screens, exposure, and washout (as soon as screen is exposed as long as you wash it out straight away this is not a problem)..

A costing trough is the best way to get an even coverage of emulsion. Always check to make sure the coating trough has a straight edge and no damage otherwise you will get poor coverage and you can snag the mesh.

Here are a few things to watch out for if your images are not washing out correctly:
That you are not coating your emulsion too thick. One coat both sides should do it, with a nice even spread. There are sometimes where you may need some extra coats e.g. printing transfers and printing white onto a dark garment but you will need to adjust the exposure time.

Coating Your Screen

Coating Your Screen

That your film positive is very opaque and dark. If you hold it up to a light and can see through it, you need to double print your film to achieve a more opaque image.
That there is positive contact between your screen mesh and your positive film. If the film is not pressed completely against your mesh then you will get light reflection between your positive and your screen which will result in a blurry and not clear image. That’s why the glass is so important.
That you are exposing your screen for the correct amount of time, which will depend on the exposure system you are using. If you are unclear on exposure times please feel free to ask us. The simple run of thumb is – if the emulsions washes off too easily and you start to lose the stencil then the screen is underexposed and if after prolonged washing the stencil does not come through they you are likely to have overexposed the screen.
After you coat your screen, you want it to be COMPLETELY dry  before you expose the screen.

Exposing the image

Exposing Your Screen

Exposing Your Screen

To transfer your image onto your screen you will need to use an exposure unit. There are many different exposure unit set ups on the market and each has a different light source. Each having different light sources. UV, halide and halogen are very popular in the UK. Our Wicked exposure lamp has a 1000 watt halogen light source and is provided will all waterbased and Plastisol kits.

We also sell Actinic and Metal Halide exposure units which are able to expose quicker (typical exposure time is 2 minutes for an Actinic unit and 16 minutes for the lamp depending on size of the screen) than the cheaper lamp solution. Some units include built in drying cabinets making the whole process a lot faster.

A very large part of your decision if you are new to screen printing will be your budget and space. Exposure units vary dramatically in price. The WPS Lamp is small and compact,

After exposing and rinsing out your exposure, you want your screen to thoroughly dry (and ideally harden your screen, by exposing it to the sun or your exposure unit) before inking and printing. This process is often called double baking.

Before inking you need to use blocking tape (can use brown tape or professional blocking tape) to cover up areas on the screen not covered by the emulsion. Also fix any pinholes either using blocking tape or using screen filler which is a liquid emulsion, make sure you choose the right one as there are different versions for solvent and water resistant stencils.

Now you are ready to print

Registering Your Print

Registering Your Print

When you get bigger there are other options like the Revolutionary Riso QS200 Designed for the Professional Printer which prints directly from your computer onto a screen. Then the whole process takes under 5 minutes!

Or even let us do it for you with our exposure service.

Digital Screen Makers (DSM) versus Direct to Screen(DTS) / Computer to Screen(CTS) Technologies

Digital Screen Makers (DSM) versus Direct to Screen(DTS) / Computer to Screen(CTS) Technologies

  • Easier stencil production for screen printers.
  • Improve production times
  • Improve screen quality

Over the last few years various new pieces of equipment have come into the marketplace promising a revolution in stencil production. We thought we would take time out and look at the different technologies, consider the promises made and give a view about how they work, the pros and the cons, and if these technologies would suit your business.

DSM v DTS

We are going to look at the

  • Digital Screen Makers (DSM) from RISO
    • Goccopro 100
    • Goccpro QS200
  • Direct to Screen or Computer to Screen (DTS or CTS) Systems –
    • Exile FREEStyler
    • Exile Spyder II system.

There are plenty of other DTS or CTS systems but we are focussing on the most popular in the UK.

The fundamental difference between DSM and DTS (sorry about the use of abbreviations!) is that DSM uses a silicon coated mesh (RISO refer to the Mesh as Media), the DSM machines have a thermal print head which burns off the silicon film leaving the stencil. The DTS systems print directly to a photo sensitive emulsion standard screen printing screen using ink jet or wax head technologies. Hope you are keeping up at the back!

 

 

Digital Screen Makers (RISO Goccopro 100 / QS200) Direct to Screen (CTS) (Exile FREEStyler / SPYDER II)
Pro Con Pro Con
Creates the stencil without the traditional process of using of screen degreasing, photo sensitive emulsion, dark room, film positives and washout. Simplifying and giving a clean process (which is a big Pro)

 

Good for quick turnaround low volume printing. Ideal for printers with no previous screen printing experience.

 

Work like a computer printer so relatively easy to install and implement. It does not need a RIP.

 

Lower foot print – they do not take much space.

 

You do not need a huge stock of frames.

 

 

Use proprietary mesh which is expensive and limited in options (currently 4 mesh counts available equivalent to 80T / 72T (Goccopro 100 only) / 48T and 28T).  Need to budget £7.00 – £15 per screen not including stretching cost.

 

Mesh is not as robust as traditional mesh so print runs are limited for 400 or so prints before the mesh starts to break down. Some printers use silicon oil or a mesh hardener to extend life.

 

Limited stencil versatility e.g. printing plastisol transfer is very tricky as you can’t do much about stencil depth.

 

Mesh not suited for all solvent inks

 

After you have printed 9 times out of 10 the mesh goes in the bin. There are some techniques to keep prints but don’t bank on it.

 

Machines are not maintenance free, thermal heads do need to be kept clean.

 

Thermal approach is simple and effective however ash can get left in the stencil reducing ink opacity. The remedy is to use a mesh cleaner.

Ideal for established printers looking to increase throughput and productivity. Targeted at printers using 20 – 30 screens per day. Uses the traditional approach using photo sensitive emulsion, exposing and wash out.

 

Replaces the need for film positive printing (especially when using inkjet printers) which can be expensive, slow and error prone.

 

Aids registration as units normally have standard automatic printing registration methods e.g. MHM pin system / M & R Triloc

 

Produces very high quality stencils which would be very difficult to achieve using traditional film positive process. Resolution from 600 – 2400 dpi, 55 – 60 to 110 lpi depending on the system

 

Takes advantage of current assets e.g. exposure units, screen printing frames and washout. Existing printers may find this technology easier to embed.

 

Works with all inks and mesh types.

Initial purchase price for the bigger units is very high so making DTS cost prohibitive to smaller or mid-market printers.

 

DTS requires consumables so there is an ongoing running cost Typically ranging from 0.25p to 0.70p depending on chosen system.

 

More evolution than revolution.

Some DTS systems use inkjet technology which generally speaking does not give the same level of quality of a wax ink based system used in higher end systems

 

 

 

Goccopro 100

GocoproHow does it work? Similar to a computer printer, you load the Goccopro 100 with a roll of mesh, you then output the artwork directly to the Goccopro 100 which creates the stencil and automatic cuts the mesh. Take the mesh and stretch it on to a quick stretch frame (there are some different frame options some very innovative), register on your carousel and print. When you have finished you discard the mesh and start again.

 

DSM ProcessSource: RISO website

What is good about it? Compact, quick, easy to use, the quickest way I have ever made a stencil – 5 minutes in total. Ideal for point of sale applications and very quick, simple, ideal low volume work.

What is not so good about it? Small print width (11.69” wide and up to 31.5” long), only useful for single colour jobs or lose aligned multi-colour work (this is the drawback of having to stretch the screen after the Goccopro 100 creates the stencil). It has limited mesh counts. Printing onto dark garments using the quick stretch screen is challenging, as classic ‘print / flash / print’ steps to build up the ink deposit to be opaque enough is difficult, some of the more robust stretch screens could give a better result – you might need to use a discharge ink. Not suitable for printing plastisol transfers.

Goccpro QS200

Goccopro QS200

The big brother to the Goccopro 100, but works slightly differently. You create a stretched screen first either using a quick stretch frames (there are many options out there) or a self-stretching screen like a Newman frame. You can glue the RISO mesh to a standard aluminium frame, but this is very tricky compared to re-stretching traditional mesh. You load the stretched frame on the bay, select print from your computer and the QS200 will create the stencil. You then register the screen on your carousel and print as per normal. When you have finished you discard the mesh.

DSM process 2Source: RISO website

What is good about it? Easy to use. Supports frames up to A2 size so works with 23 x 31” screen sizes, you can use it for multi-colour work, and you can use different frame types interchangeably. Good for low production printing. Quick, the fastest I have created an A4 sized stencil from start to finish is around 10 minutes (larger artwork will take longer) including stretching the screen.   Ideal for point of sale applications, good low to medium production e.g. 20 – 400 prints. Typical profile would be a DTG or Vinyl / Laser Transfer printer wanting to increase margin, screen printing 50 T Shirts with the same design would be quicker, faster and more profitable than using other technologies.

What is not so good about it? Limited mesh counts, a busy printer will experience head alignment and cleaning issues – some dirt on the print head will ruin the stencil and waste mesh. You don’t achieve high tensions on self-stretch screens, up to 19 ncm (newtons per cm) (but ok for manual printing) if you are lucky compared to 25 ncm on a brand new stretched tradition frame, so you might have to adjust print technique.   You would need to use a Newman style frame if using the machine on a fully automatic carousel and use tape to reinforce the mesh. Not suitable for printing plastisol transfers.

FREESTyler Direct to Screen

FreeStyler

 

How does it work?   You place an emulsion coated screen on the flat bed of the FREEStyler (it comes with various clamps that came be used to aid registration), you then control how the stencil is printed using RIP software that comes with the system. It replaces the Film Positive printing process, the FREEStyler uses inkjet technology to print the artwork directly on the screen with a quick drying ink which is water soluble.   When completed you expose the screen (just like normal) and washout. You don’t need to use a vacuum or glass on your exposure unit.

What is good about it? Designed for the small and midmarket with an appropriate pricing structure, supports frames up to 36” x 26”, (creates stunning stencils Resolution from 600 – 2400 dpi, 55 – 60 lpi) which would be difficult to achieve accurately with film positives printed with an inkjet printer. Opens up a new host of opportunities for the small / midmarket printers creating 30-40 screens per day (probably will do a lot more than that but note that the consumable costs will mount up and the bigger systems might be better choice) likely to have an automatic carousel or a number of manual / semi-automatic carousels. Takes between 3 – 12 minutes to make a screen depending on what settings you are using. Uses a clamp system to enable quick accurate registration. Makes use of existing investments of screens and equipment.

What is not so good about it? There is an ongoing consumable cost for the ink (typical £0.70p per screen), it does not replace the process but complements it so not exactly revolutionary. It is a brand new system so it is a bit too early to know if there are drawbacks.

SPYDER II Direct to ScreenSpider

How does it work? Similar concept to the FREEStyler, you place a coated screen in the SPYDER. The stencil is printed using RIP software and uses prints wax ink which is water soluble. When completed you expose the screen (just like normal) and washout. You don’t need to use a vacuum or glass. The system uses bi-drectional printing and is very fast – approx 1 minute to create the screen mask.

What is good about it? Its quick, creates stunning stencils (it has a 1200 dpi and supports up to 110 lpi). It is targeted and designed for large commercial printers with challenging requirements creating large numbers of screens on a daily basis typically might have 2 or more automatic machines. Ongoing consumable cost is low approx. £0.25p per screen.

What is not so good about it? Reassuringly expensive

They are a number of CTS / DTS systems in the market place e.g. M&R i-Image ST Computer to Screen Imaging System, CST GmbH (more high end solutions for industrial printers rather than the textile market) all of them having their own pros and cons but work on a similar concept. Some solutions have an integrated LED exposure unit which offers some advantages in optimising the process. However in some respects a CTS without exposure unit is a better solution as you would be able to produce screens faster if in a high production environment than with the integrated solution.

In conclusion

Digital Screen Makers and Direct to Screen systems are a very different proposition, it is a little like comparing apples and pears. The key thing is around being clear about your requirements and business objectives before making investments in either technologies. The Digital Screen Makers are niche products which for some printers will open up new opportunities e.g. a DTG printer wanting to provide limited screen printing options. Outside of that niche the traditional approach using a Direct to Screen technology might be the better bet as you will also gain from the versatility of the traditional process. You might actually have a need for both, using the more modern technology at a trade show or exhibition where turn round speeds are vital.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements and we can help you to find the right solution for your needs.

Tunnel Dryers

When is the right point to invest in a tunnel dryer?

As your volumes grow waiting several minutes for a garment to dry using a flash dryer is no longer going to be an option. If you want to cure dozens of garments an hour then you going to need a tunnel dryer.

We have produced this handy chart to enable you to make a selection of the right tunnel dryer for you but please contact us with any questions.

Dryers

Wicked Printing Stuff manufacture the amazing WPS Panther Texitunnel Dryer Range – one of the most well known brand of dryers in Europe with a reputation for quality, reliability, longevity and performance :-
•    Texitunnel 700 – the most highly efficient small dryer in the market and the most popular dryer in UK, suitable for curing up to 500 garments per hour plastisol ink. Available in either Single Phase or Three Phase power options. Ideal for manual printers.
•    Texitunnel 700L – longer drying oven idea for Screen Printers and Digital Printers used with Annajet, Viper, Brother, Resolute DTG printers, Epson DTG, Texjet and inks needed to cure high volumes of garments, available for Three Phase Power. Ideal for manual / semi automatic and DTG printers.
•    Texitunnel 8000 series – ideal for automatic screen printers and high performance digital printers. High curing throughput. One of the most popular dryers in Europe.

If you require a longer tunnel,  wider belt or have specific requirements then please contact us. For further detailed information about our dryers please download our comprehensive eight page  fact pack

Our full range can be found here Tunnel Dryers.

When I print my shirt, my image seems to be a little blurry.

When I print my shirt, my image seems to be a little blurry.

Registering Your Print

Registering Your Print

Again this can be caused by a number of things: Are the screens tight in their clamps and the micro registration tightened? As you print the force will alter your screen’s position on the print surface. So, if the clamps holding your screens are loose then your print will be out of registration. This would especially be true on 1 colour prints.

Are the platens secured to the press and have you applied a good amount of tak to hold the garment in place. If you are using a flash, and after your second pull or colour it is burring, then the flash could be shrinking the shirt, thus distorting your print. Also if you flash for two long between colours you will start to cure the ink which can result in blurred / poor print quality.

Has your screen mesh lost it tightness? The screen needs to be tight so that your image is tight. Time to restretch.

Is your mesh count and squeegee right? It can be surprising how much of a difference this can make when printing.

via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.

What heat press should I buy?

WPS 4000 Heat Transfer Press Product Ref: QR1283

What heat press should I buy?

A common question but the answer is rarely straight forward as there are many factors to consider.

What is a heat press.

A heat press is a machine engineered to imprint a design or graphic on a substrate, such as a t-shirt, with the application of heat and pressure for a preset period of time.

Where does it fit in the process.

1, Choose an image to put on a product like a t-shirt
2. Print onto heat transfer paper
3. Lay the image on your t shirt
4. Use a heat press to transfer the image on the t shirt.

Which heat press should you buy

What are you going to use it for?  Garments (T Shirts, Hoodies, Caps), promotional items (mouse maps, phone cases etc) , DTG preparation and curing, sublimation, Vinyl, Plastisol transfers etc   Heat Presses are involved in all of these process however there are a few areas to consider before parting with your money

So here are some of our views …
Accurate Heat – to get the best results a heat press needs to maintain accurate and consistent heat across the platen. Too little heat may not activate the adhesives to fully fix the graphic to the garment, too much heat can affect the graphic quality, reducing opacity or not giving an even cure.

Digital control – needed to ensure you have accurate temperature you don’t want fluctuating temperatures, you need accurate timings and therefore consistent results. Many digital controllers come with timers and safety features such as auto shutdown and alarms.

Even pressure – uneven pressure will lead to poor adhesion and inconsistent curing of ink therefore always choose a press which you can adjust and set for different thickness of substrates.   Some presses have pressure gauges which are ideal for ensuring consistent results.

Size of the Heat Press – there are many sizes to choose from and a key question to ask when buying a press is ‘What is the largest size of garment / substrate will I be using?’ It normally makes good sense to buy a press that can accommodate future needs.  It’s also easier to align garments on a larger press. Some presses come with interchangeable platens which gives you much more flexibility.

WPS 4500 Sport Heat Transfer Press Product Ref: QR1279

Clam or swing away?

  • A clam has a smaller footprint, when using a swing away you need to give space for the swing which on the bigger units can be quite significant
  • A clam is typically less expensive than a swing away and less moving parts
  • It is easier to see what is going on with a clam, if a garment has gone out of alignment you can do something about it
  • Clam presses are typically more portable
  • Swing aways different from a clam with the heating element lifting up parallel and swings completely out of the way.
  • It is often stated that with a clam press to increase the chances of burned knuckles with the clam however with a swing away it is just as easy to get the fingers in the way. Quality clam presses open wide enough to reduce the chance of accidents.
  • Swing aways are often more popular with DTG printers but you can also use a Clam
  • Swings aways typically can be set to give more pressure than a clam, we have found that some transfer papers don’t work well on clams
  • You can debate this but it really does come back to personal preference and budget.  The simple answer is choose the press that suits your needs.

Budget – always choose a press with a lifetime heater warranty, with CE certification (real Certification (beware some of the cheap China imports are not made with high quality components and may not be actually certified compared to European / US presses). It’s better to buy the right equipment first time out rather than the cheapest – quality equipment is designed to last years with warranty backup if there is a problem. You will often find broken low quality heat presses lurking in the back of many print shops.  If your business is reliant on the equipment then consider the impact of the heat press breaking.

If you have questions at all please contact us to discuss your requirements

Squeegees

Pack Of 4 Wooden Squeegees With Square Cut Blade - 12 Inch The squeegee is the tool used to push the ink through the mesh onto the substrate (whatever you are printing on) and whilst it might seem an unimportant thing compared to components of the screen printing process don’t be deceived by its simple appearance. The wrong squeegee or a damaged one can cost you in ruined printing.

So what does a squeegee do

  • Bring the screen and substrate together
  • Push ink through the open design areas
  • Shear the ink
  • Remove excess ink
  • Control the release rate

Quite a lot of work for a humble looking piece of kit

Did you know squeegees have different bendibilty or hardness and this has a proper technical name with standards. Known as durometer or shore. You need different degrees depending on your ink. If your ink is a specialised one that requires more force to get it through the mesh, metallic ones are candidates, then you need a harder squeegee.

Factors Squeegee
Irregular/Rough Substrate Softer
Coarse Mesh Softer
Smooth Substrate Harder
Fine Mesh Harder
UV Ink Harder
Solvent Based Ink Harder
High Speed Automotic Process Harder
Light on dark/more ink coverage required Softer
Specialist Ink Harder

 

The squeegee must be undamaged and sharp because it actually has to ‘cut’ or shear the ink otherwise the ink is smeared. So proper maintenance is important, cleaning them after use is very important. You can tell if a squeegee needs replacing or sharpening by the ink left on the screen. There should not be any! Certain inks like solvent based or UV inks do damage the squeegee over time and again this effects the sharpness of the print. Squeegees can be sharpened.

‘D’ Cut Squeegees are used for T-Shirt and textile printing, the tapered edge allows maximum ink deposit onto your garment. They are also ideal for plastisol ink when printing light on dark. Square edge blade allows for lesser deposit of ink and is used widely on higher mesh counts and finer prints. There are other shapes but these are only relevant to industrial use like printed circuit boards, adhesive and paste. If you want to know more about the science of squeegees have a look here http://www.gwent.org/gem_screen_printing.html

Aluminimum is more expensive than wooden but lasts longer.

So our mantra is the right squeegee for the right job, Check out our range and please don’t hesitate to get in touch for an explanation or advice on which squeegee to buy. Our staff are always ready to help and as Oli says “When the sunlight enters my room every morning I awake with a cheesy grin knowing today, today will be a good day. Someone, Somewhere will be squeegeeless and I can help their cause. I get a lot of satisfaction from this and that is why I enjoy working at WPS.”

How can I print light designs on a dark garment – All about discharge inks.

I want to print light on dark?

I want a soft touch?

What is a discharge ink?

Here at Wicked Printing Stuff we don’t expect you to know everything and we are happy to explain things. Have you checked out our FREE buyers guide there is lots in there for the Rookie, Intermediate and Professional. Please give us a ring and explain your problem and we will help out. Lastly there are our training courses, designed again for both rookie and advanced printers with basic training or advanced courses.

So back to the problem. You want to print a light colour on a dark garment and you want it to feel soft. Now plastisol inks wrap colour AROUND the threads but gives a rubbery feel (also referred to as hand) but is bright. So ideally you want a water based ink. For those of you that have tried this and I can hear you shouting at the back, but I have tried waterbased inks and I just can’t get a good opaque print, that’s why I use plastisol. Well that’s where the discharge inks come in!

Punk Rockers

For the punk rockers out there, remember how you got that bright green hair, that is right you had to bleach out your own hair colour first so the back ground colour was white, only then the colour would take and be vibrant and striking. It is almost the same in screen printing but we use discharge inks that need curing. The discharge ink actually removes the dye.

First off you have to have the right garment fabric, it has to be 100% cotton and it has to be dyed with a dischargeable dye. So check with the manufacturer. If the garment is a mixture of cotton and polyester only the cotton will discharge. Now that might actually suit you but you would need to do a trial run to make sure you get the effect you want.

Discharge InksSo having got the right garment now we need the right ink. There are a lot out there and some are more complicated to use than others.

Water based dischargeable inks are the easiest and most eco friendly ones to use. The process works during curing when the discharge removes the original dye and the ink gives the new colour. To do this you add activator to the ink which ensures you get an intense colour.

At Wicked Printing Stuff we have researched the products extensively and as a consequence we recommend the following ink Unico  The ink has been developed to meet the most recent ecological requirements. We also supply the Rutland Best of Brands discharge ink which works with both the Unico and the Union activator. Additionally we offer Union plasticharge which is a great way of using existing plastisol inks you may have and turning them into a discharge ink.

For the discharge process to work, you do need a tunnel dryer (the longer the better) – typically 90-120 seconds dwell time is needed for a good cure. You can also use a heat press which is great for low production. You also need well ventilated premises and printers should read the MSDS and be aware of any health and safety consideration.
We would be delighted to talk you through this if you have any questions, please contact us.

Wicked Tip – Comparing Curing Technologies

Top Tip to Save Money

Low volume production can double up two process on one piece of equipment. A flash dryer or a hand curer can be used for drying between colours AND curing.

It can be difficult deciding what equipment to buy for flash drying and curing your prints. We know that your budget can also dictate what type of curing equipment you have. So to help you decide, we put together a quick guide to what works and what doesn’t when flash drying and curing your prints.

Starting at the top is the lowest cost option right through to the higher end of heat presses and tunnel dryers. Although the entry level range for these machines can be extremely cost effective.

Curing Technologies

Mesh Count – Which one?

Which Mesh Count Should I Use?

We get lots of questions about mesh count, below are just two from our FAQ’s and on our free Buyers Guide we go into more detail.

Getting the right mesh count is like getting the right squeegee and the right ink for the job in hand. These are ALL really important and make the difference to your finished product. Remember what you are trying to do is push the ink through the mesh on to the substrate. So the wrong mesh will result in too much or too little ink getting through. Not good. A very detailed design on a coarse mesh won’t work either. Check out our range of screens and mesh.

If you ever want advice on which one to buy please contact us. we will be more than happy to talk you through it.

Guide to Mesh Count

 

Count Type Ideal Uses
10t coarse glitter
15t coarse glitter
21t coarse glitter
32t textile maximum opacity on dark fabrics
43t textile bolder graphics
55t textile finer detail
61t textile finer detail
77t textile finer fabrics, halftone graphics
80t textile finer fabrics, halftone graphics
90t textile extremely light material, general graphics
110t textile extremely light material, general graphics
120t paper general process
140t paper general process
160t paper photographic detail

What is the difference between the mesh counts different meshes on the screens?

A lower number means a coarser mesh count, a higher number means a finer mesh count. You will need to select the correct mesh count for the artwork you have produced. 43T is used most commonly for general textile printing. Please note that we use the European system therefore mesh counts is threads per cm, sometimes you may see the American system being used which is threads per inch.Read our online buyers guide – page 15 for a breakdown of each count and their ideal use.

What is the difference between Yellow and White mesh?

Generally speaking there is very little difference in the performance of the mesh unless you are using 90T upwards. Yellow mesh absorbs more light and stops light scattering, this helps expose those very fine lines and intricate details. We use Italian mesh yellow and white, they are great for fine halftones with high resolution and has the greatest possible exposure latitude with unsurpassed protection against light-undercutting.

via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.

 Which Mesh Count?

Once you have selected your screen you will need to select a mesh count. The mesh count will depend what substrate you are printing onto, what ink you are printing with and how detailed your artwork is. The mesh counts range from 15t which would be used for glitter printing, or highly absorbent surfaces, to a 200t which would be used for extremely fine and intricate lines, hand drawing and photographic work. The most popular textile mesh count for either Waterbased or Ink is between 32t and 65t, and a mesh 77t / 90t upwards would be advised for paper and card printing with a water based ink. FROM OUR FREE BUYERS GUIDE

After I wash my shirts a few times, the ink starts to come off.

After I wash my shirts a few times, the ink starts to come off.

Wicked_poster_step6This means that you have not cured your garment correctly. Plastisol inks need to be heated to a pre-determined temperature for a certain duration of time, usually somewhere between 45-60 seconds. This would be to either to flash dry or to use a conveyor dryer. Different inks, or special garments may need their timing fine tuned. The temperature and times will vary some job to job, so always do a wash test. A great way to test to see if the ink is cured or not is to pull on the t-shirt. If the ink sticks together like plastic or rubber, then it is cured. However if it cracks and you can see the t-shirt under it, you need to increase your curing time. via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.